VIDEO POKER: WINNING HAND FREQUENCY FOR 9/6 JACKS OR BETTER
IN SEPTEMBER’S ISSUE OF Southern Gaming, I wrote about the winning hand frequency for 9/6 Double Double Bonus (9/6 DDB), one of the most popular games on the casino floor. However, 9/6 Jacks or Better (9/6 JOB) has both a higher expected return (ER) and a lower variance (less risk to your bankroll) than 9/6 DDB. Why then, do so many players choose 9/6 DDB over 9/6 JOB? They love the potential thrill of more jackpot opportunities and they do not understand the implications of the hand frequency data.
Note that I rounded occurrences to the nearest whole number. You will also see same hand differences between hand frequencies for 9/6DDB (September issue) and 9/6JOB (this issue) since both tables assume statistically accurate play.
ANALYZING THE DATA
Many players complain that they only get a return of 125 coins for any four of a kind (4OAK) with 9/6 JOB but with 9/6 DDB the return is a minimum of 250 coins and special 4OAKs pay more. In fact, four Aces with a kicker (2, 3 or 4) returns a whopping 2,000 coins on a 5-coin bet. Lost on them is the fact that 4OAK occurs once in every 423 hands and four Aces with a kicker once every 16,236 hands. More important though, is what you must sacrifice for the chance of special jackpots. 9/6 JOB returns double your wager for two pair, a frequent hand and 9/6 DDB only gives you even money or a return of your bet. You can see that two pair occurs once every eight hands. This means that if you play 800 hands per hour you will give up 100 times 5 coins (assuming a 5-coin bet) or 500 coins per hour by choosing DDB over JOB. To replace this loss you will need two regular 4OAKS (5s through Kings) since they return 250 coins with a 5-coin wager.
It’s important to understand that any time a video poker game shorts your return on frequent hands, like two pair, it becomes risky to your bankroll. Looking at these two games, for example, the variance for 9/6JOB is 19.51468 compared to 41.98498 for 9/6 DDB. You’ll play longer with the lower variance, thus earning more promo entries, slot club points and possibly rising to a higher level slot card since most are based on coin in.
You may still want to play 9/6 DDB instead of 9/6 JOB because the potential for big jackpot rushes may trump the higher return and lower variance. Regardless of the choice you make, you should make sure you know both the ER and variance of a game before depositing your money. (This information is on removable tables in my book, The Video Poker Edge.)
TABLE 1.1 9/6 JOB PAY SCHEDULE for 5-coin bet
- Royal Flush 4000
- Straight Flush 250
- 4 of a Kind 125
- Full House 45
- Flush 30
- Straight 20
- 3 of a Kind 15
- Two Pair 10
Jacks or Better
TABLE 1.2: 9/6 JOB HAND FREQUENCY: ROUNDED TO THE NEAREST WHOLE NUMBER (occurse once in number of hands shown below)
- Royal Flush 40,391
- Straight Flush 9,148
- 4 of a Kind 423
- Full House 87
- Flush 91
- Straight 89
- 3 of a Kind 13
- Two Pairs 8
Expected Return: 99.5439
BY LINDA BOYD
Author Bio: Linda Boyd, a long-time table game player and knowledgeable video poker player, writes for Southern Gaming and Destinations and various other publications and web-sites. Her book, The Video Poker Edge, includes free removable pay schedules and her free strategy cards for the most popular games. The 2010, second edition is on amazon.com and in various bookstores. Kindle edition is available.
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